Marek Grechuta (tallest dude) and Anawa

There are times when I wish I knew a bit more of a language to completely comprehend the importance of a certain artist or musician. For sure, I can sense and feel the importance of an artist like Marek Grechuta (and Anawa) was to the Polish people. Creating his post-rock music, that drew from neo-baroque, chamber music, native folk, jazz, cabaret, and poetry, at a time when Polish communist leaders tried their hardest to suppress student protest and foment anti-Semitic rule in order to maintain their grip on power. Marek was playing with fire with some of the poetry he sung and a lot of the way he created/presented music to get around anti-Western-leaning artistic censorship. The track I’ll highlight today, “Korowód” (Pageant), gives you a snapshot of another unique groove that blazed a trail when none seemed ready to exist.

Korowód album cover.

In 1971, Marek, after attaining a short bit of fame gained from winning songwriting contests that mixed poetry with classical arrangements, teamed up with a pianist/composer friend of his, Jan Kanty-Pawluśkiewicz. This bit of clout allowed both of them to have the allowance to record their first album Korowód and to greatly expand their original chamber group. With this expanded group, Anawa, featuring a rock-like rhythm section (both drum and stand-up bass), with a cellist, a violinist, a flute player, and a 12-string acoustic guitar player accompanying Marek on vocals and Jan on piano they created an intriguing new sound.

Live Performance

The title track from this album presents this change. Its much longer than any pop song Polish people were used to hearing. Far stranger and adventurous than the earlier chorale pop he had success with. Everything about this change was amplified: arrangements now were vastly more complex and the lyrics that much more challenging to anything that was out there. Rather than back down, they found a way to present rebel music of a different stripe. Its one of the reasons this track still sounds so different and a reason Marek continued recording way past the end of Communism and rise of democracy in Poland…dude was always two steps ahead of the game.

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Listen to Korowód at Grooveshark.

Two bonus tracks, first another track from Korowód, the powerful proto-Sigur Ros sound of Nowy Radosny Dzień…

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Listen to Nowy Radosny Dzien at Grooveshark.

then the thought provoking set of music videos Marek created that recently were unearthed on Polish tv…

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